Akamai vs. Imperva WAF

Posted DateAugust 28, 2023
Posted Time 5   min Read

What is Akamai WAF?

As the pioneer in web security, Akamai takes the lead with its Web Application Firewall. It excels at detecting threats within HTTP and SSL traffic at the Edge Platform, offering a proactive shield for your origin data centers.

Akamai’s extensive experience in content delivery networks (CDN) makes it an industry favorite, especially in media, gaming, and streaming domains.

What is Imperva WAF?

Imperva’s Cloud WAF is vital in its robust application security solution, taking defense-in-depth to new heights. With a wide-ranging suite of protective features encompassing WAF, bot protection, DDoS attack mitigation, enhanced API security, and more, Imperva offers comprehensive protection against a myriad of application-level threats.

With Imperva’s near-zero false positive guarantee, over 90% of customers deploy their WAF in blocking mode. Notably, AppTrana stands out by claiming 100% app in block mode.

While comparing Akamai vs. Imperva WAF, it’s crucial to assess their advantages.

If you want to explore more WAAP/WAF options, check out our detailed comparison of 17 Best Cloud WAAP & WAF Software in 2023.

Benefits of Akamai WAF over Imperva WAF


Imperva and Akamai offer robust DDoS protection, but Akamai’s strengths lie in managed services, vast capacity, and quick mitigation with a zero-second SLA.

Prolexic handles 10+ Tbps for instant attack response. Imperva guarantees 3-second mitigation with 9 Tbps.

Akamai’s anycast tech minimizes latency. Prolexic 225+ SOCCs frontline responders ensure comprehensive protection by combining automation and human engagement.

Akamai’s unmetered DDoS protection is an add-on. AppTrana, on the other hand, introduces unmetered DDoS protection across its plans. Charges are associated with legitimate traffic, irrespective of the volume of DDoS attacks countered.

Managed Service

Akamai’s Managed Security Service provides a customized security approach, aligning with your business requirements and integrating industry know-how and top practices. Akamai’s comprehensive service covers:

  • Instant response to security incidents
  • Valuable insights through regular reports and reviews
  • In-depth security checks and fine-tuning

At a premium tier, the SOCC Premium Service, offers personalized support:

  • Named resources with 24/7 access to SOCC expertise
  • Regular collaborative reviews and timely threat research
  • Enhanced monitoring and SIEM views
  • Quicker escalations and expert’s availability

Even within the premium segment, Akamai remains pricier than most other WAAP providers. Akamai is a reliable and effective choice if you can afford its managed services.

Adaptive Security

Akamai Intelligent Edge Platform derives knowledge from millions of web application attacks, billions of bot requests, and trillions of API requests. This process is supported by cutting-edge machine learning and ongoing threat research, which leads to constant improvement, identifying emerging threats, and creating innovative capabilities.

API Discovery

Akamai, like AppTrana, offers automatic API discovery, covering protected and unprotected APIs. This involves identifying their endpoints, definitions, and traffic features. The positive API security model empowers the capability to respond to API requests that deviate from predefined specifications.

With Imperva, API discovery is available as an add-on option. Since API discovery is a central puzzle piece in API security, paying extra for this capability might not be the optimal choice.

On a different note, AppTrana’s license comprises API penetration testing, a unique service bundle not offered by other WAAP providers.

Benefits of Imperva WAF over Akamai WAF

In-built RASP

RASP empowers applications to secure known and unknown attacks, delivering a two-fold advantage.

  • RASP (Runtime Application Self-Protection) uses LANGSEC, an industry-leading attack detection method that contributes to accurate threat detection.
  • RASP reduces false positives by seamlessly integrating network, application, and database security insights into a unified, comprehensive report.

Imperva Research Labs’ dedicated testing efforts also play a vital role in reducing false alerts before implementing blocking rules.

Hence, it is no wonder that most Imperva Cloud WAF customers opt for the default blocking mode.

Handling false positives can be challenging with Akamai, especially if you lack certified in-house security engineers or haven’t subscribed to the managed services add-on.

Flexible Deployment

Whether you’re moving entire workloads to the cloud or selectively migrating specific ones while keeping others on-premise, Imperva offers effective application security in both scenarios through its hybrid WAF deployment solution.

With the ability to deploy WAF according to requirements, this subscription assists businesses in streamlining the security of their enterprise applications, especially when moving from in-house data centers to the cloud.


Imperva’s out-of-the-box integrations extend beyond the basics, providing a robust ecosystem that connects security solutions with the broader technology landscape. This includes seamless connections to data warehouses, Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) tools, and an array of DevOps tools.

AppTrana - the best Imperva WAF alternative

An Alternative to Both Akamai and Imperva WAF

When it comes to web application security, two factors are constantly changing: the cyber threat landscape and your web applications. This demands constant fine-tuning of your WAF solution.

A managed service team is critical in balancing over-protection and zero protection. One common challenge with Akamai and Imperva WAF is that their managed services are available as an add-on. While Akamai boasts top-tier managed services, the cost factor remains key in decision-making.

Hence, bundled managed services are crucial, especially in false positive management. AppTrana provides managed services on all plans featuring solution experts who oversee applications over a 14-day span, conduct thorough testing for false positives, and ensure the WAF remains in its block mode all the time.

Here are other benefits of using AppTrana. Moreover, AppTrana encompasses all features, including capabilities like API Discovery akin to Akamai, and adheres to Imperva’s zero false positive guarantee.

Virtual Patching

Based on the findings in our application security report Q2 2023, we’ve identified 1729 vulnerabilities that are of critical and high severity. Using custom rules or application-specific virtual patches, vulnerabilities were patched at the WAF layer without any code change.

AppTrana’s core rules set successfully blocked 41% of attacks, while 59% of attacks were prevented by implementing custom rules.

This feature presents an excellent opportunity to minimize vulnerability exposure, allowing the development and QA cycles to address the vulnerability in the code later.

Behavioural DDoS

For many rate-limiting systems, a challenge arises when application owners struggle to determine the suitable rate limit thresholds to enforce.

AppTrana takes the spotlight with behavioural DDoS protection, a unique feature not offered by most WAAP providers.

The behavioural based model enables the system to monitor various metrics, including maximum request values per session/host, IP, URI, and geographical origin.

In the next step, the system recommends on the suitable point for rate limits to begin sending notifications and when they should take action to block traffic. The strength of this model lies in its scalability, with rate limits adjusting to changes in traffic behaviour.

Bundled DAST Scanner and Penetration Testing

AppTrana’s bundled DAST Scanner and Penetration Testing set it apart in comparing the Akamai vs. Imperva WAF.

The primary advantages of the package are:

  • Significant cost savings due to the elimination of add-on subscriptions
  • A unified dashboard empowers you to monitor the number of open vulnerabilities protected by WAF rules and track the requirement for custom rules to protect the remaining vulnerabilities.

Ultimately, the key factor is the balance between cost and value, an area in which AppTrana excels over both Imperva and Akamai WAF.

Feature Comparison Table: Akamai vs. Imperva WAF

Here is a detailed feature comparison table for Imperva, Akamai, and AppTrana

WAF Feature Imperva Akamai AppTrana
Gartner Peer Insights Rating 4.7 4.7 4.9
Gartner Peer Insights Customer Recommendation Rating 92% 88% 100%
DDoS Monitoring Add-On Add-On Starts at $399
Virtual Patching Add-On Add-On Starts at $99
Payload Inspection Size Unknown Starts: 8KB

Max: 128KB

NTLM Support Unknown No Yes
Bot Protection Not available in essentials

Add-on in Professional

Bundled in Enterprise Plan

Add-On Yes
Response Timeout Default: 360 seconds

Max: Unknown

Default: 120 seconds


Max: 599 seconds

Default: 300 seconds


Max: 300 seconds

Managed Services Add-On Add-On Starts at $399
DAST Scanner Not Available Not Available Bundled in all plans
Asset Discovery Not Available Not Available Bundled in all plans
Penetration Testing Not Available Not Available Bundled in the $399 plan
API discovery Available as an Add-On Available Available
API Security Available Available Available
API Scanning Not Available Not Available Bundled in the $399 plan
API Pen Testing Not Available Not Available Bundled in the $399 plan
Workflow-based bot mitigation Add-On Add-On Starts at $399
Origin Protection Not Available Add-On Bundled in all plans

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